The West’s Media Delusions

Exclusive: The U.S. mainstream news media often holds itself out as the world’s gold standard, home for careful reporting and diverse opinions compared to Russia’s monolithic propaganda, but the reality is quite different, says James W Carden.

By James W Carden

In a wide ranging and necessary survey of Russian political programming, Dr. Gilbert Doctorow, himself a frequent guest on those shows, observes that:

“The charges — that Russian media are only an instrument of state propaganda directed at the domestic population to keep Russian citizens in line and at foreign audiences to sow dissent among Russia’s neighbors and within the European Union — are taken as a matter of faith with almost no proofs adduced. Anyone who questions this ‘group think’ is immediately labeled a ‘tool of Putin’ or worse.”

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

MSNBC host Rachel Maddow.

Dr. Doctorow has launched an important conversation in light of the release of yet another alarmist media report, this time by a British neoconservative group named (oddly) after a long deceased Democratic Senator from Washington State (Henry “Scoop” Jackson), which seeks to stifle debate on Russia policy in the West by smearing dissenters from the Russia-bashing conventional wisdom as “Putin’s useful idiots.”

Doctorow’s experience with the Russian media therefore serves a double use: to combat willful Western misconceptions of the Russian media landscape as well as to serve as a useful point of comparison with U.S. media outlets and their coverage of Russia.

If we take the example of the purportedly liberal cable news outlet MSNBC, we find, paradoxically, that the hard-right neoconservative stance toward Russia goes virtually unopposed. Regarding Russia, in comparison with their principal center-left cable news rival CNN, which, to its credit occasionally makes room for the minority “detente” point of view, MSNBC leaves about as much room for dissent as the Soviet-era Pravda – actually, perhaps less.

New McCarthyism

As it happens, there was a similar disparity when it came to the way the two networks covered the U.S. presidential election. While CNN went about bringing much needed balance to its coverage, albeit in the most inept way possible – by hiring paid flacks from each of the campaigns to appear alongside actual journalists, MSNBC (like Republican rival FOX News) wholly dispensed with any pretense of objectivity and served as little more than as a mouth piece for the disastrous Clinton campaign.

Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisconsin, who led the "Red Scare" hearings of the 1950s.

Sen. Joseph McCarthy, R-Wisconsin, who led the “Red Scare” hearings of the 1950s.

As such, the “liberal” network found itself in the vanguard of the new McCarthyism which swept the 2016 campaign, but which has, in fact, been a feature of the American debate over Russia policy since at least the beginning of the Ukraine crisis in late 2013 – if not earlier.

Examples abound, but perhaps the most striking case of the neo-McCarthyite hysteria which MSNBC attempted to dress up as its legitimate concern over U.S. national security was a rant that Rachel Maddow unleashed on her audience in June when Maddow opened her show with a monologue dedicated to the proposition that Donald Trump was in league with Vladimir Putin.

Maddow, in her signature smarter-than-thou tone, informed readers that the “admiration” between Putin and Trump “really is mutual. I mean, look at this headline, ‘Putin praises Trump. He`s brilliant and talented person.’ ‘Putin praises bright and talented Trump.’ ‘Vladimir Putin praises outstanding and talented Trump.’ There was some controversy over how to exactly translate Putin`s remarks, but Putin took care to flatter Donald Trump publicly, exactly the way Donald Trump likes to be flattered, and that`s apparently enough for Donald Trump, that`s all he needs to hear, that`s all he needs to know, to tell him, how great Vladimir Putin is.

“Putin likes Trump, he must be smart, must be great. So, that is the very, very unusual context here, that you have a Republican presidential nominee who is very, very susceptible to flattery. It`s the most powerful thing in the world to him. If you compliment him, he will never forget it and that`s kind of all he needs to know about you.”

Maddow went on in this vein for quite a while longer (meaning: little actual content but lots of “very, very’s” and eye-rolling). But her central insight, such as it was, was little more than a regurgitation of Democratic National Committee talking points. To no one’s surprise, Maddow’s accusations were repeated almost verbatim in the press releases issued by the Clinton campaign which accused Trump of being little more than a Russian fifth columnist.

Maddow’s evidence-free, innuendo laden June rant took on an added importance because she was the messenger. After the risible, self-important sports journalist Keith Olbermann left the network in 2011, Maddow took over as the network’s house intellectual. So her words carry weight with its viewers in a way, say, Mika Brzezinki’s do not.

Nevertheless at no point at which I am aware did Maddow ever host a guest who pushed back against the still unproven charges that the Russian government had interfered in the U.S. election or that Donald Trump was, in the words of former CIA functionary Mike Morell, an “unwitting agent of the Kremlin” – never mind that as recently as Nov. 15, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Corker admitted he had “no proof” of Moscow’s interference in the U.S. election.

While it is unclear whether MSNBC’s Joy Reid is seen as “serious” a voice as Maddow, it is unquestionable that she has emerged as the network’s most enthusiastic practitioner of the new McCarthyism.

Days before the election Reid hosted Newsweek’s increasingly unhinged Kurt Eichenwald and former Naval officer Malcolm Nance who has repeatedly and without evidence claimed the Wikileaks-Podesta emails were fake.

Why, asked Reid, are the Russians backing Trump? As if that assertion was beyond dispute. Well, said Eichenwald, “They hate Hillary Clinton…” Oh. Reid then went on to wonder why the FBI is down-playing the intelligence community’s allegedly deep concern that Russia was interfering in the election.

Putin-Bashing

Days later, right after the election, Reid re-assembled a panel featuring Nance, the reliable Putin critic Nina Khrushcheva and Esquire’s Charles Pierce to reinforce the message that MSNBC had been pushing since the summer: that the Russian government had its hand on the scale of the U.S. election. Pierce, in particular, was apoplectic.

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Russian government photo)

Russian President Vladimir Putin. (Russian government photo)

That Reid’s roundtable featured Pierce made a good deal of sense. Throughout the campaign, Pierce has been determined to draw a direct link between the Trump campaign and Putin. A sample of his output helps tell the tale. On July 24, Pierce published “Donald Trump’s and Vladimir Putin’s Shared Agenda Should Alarm Anyone Concerned About Democracy” in which Pierce speculated that “Trump seems increasingly dependent on money from Russia and from the former Soviet republics within its increasingly active sphere of influence.”

In his offering of Sept. 9, Pierce protested that “It’s not ‘red-baiting’ to be concerned about Russian interference in our elections.” Pierce, perhaps moved to madness by The Nation editorial “Against Neo-McCarthyism,” sounded as though he were channeling the ghost of James Jesus Angleton, asking, “Are we supposed to believe that Donald Trump really went on RT television by accident? That nobody on his staff knew that the Russian government’s American network picks up Larry King’s podcast?”

About a month before the election, on Oct. 11, Pierce informed readers of the once-great Esquire, “Vladimir Putin Is Determined to See Trump in the Oval Office.” Still worse, according to Pierce, “There is little question now that Vladimir Putin is playing monkey-mischief with the 2016 presidential election, and that the Trump campaign is the primary beneficiary of that.”

All of the aforementioned is to demonstrate that the American media’s much touted pluralism is little more than a fiction when it comes to reporting on Russia. The diversity of Left-Right voices on the political spectrum that Doctorow has encountered in Moscow indicates that the widespread perception that Moscow’s political culture is monolithic compared to that of the Washington’s is, at the very least, challengeable.

James W Carden is a contributing writer for The Nation and editor of The American Committee for East-West Accord’s eastwestaccord.com. He previously served as an advisor on Russia to the Special Representative for Global Inter-governmental Affairs at the US State Department.

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75 comments for “The West’s Media Delusions

  1. J'hon Doe II
    November 23, 2016 at 3:08 pm

    I abhor Maddow for her pedantic style of reporting and refuse to watch.
    http://www.atimes.com/atlas-stumbled/
    ::
    Same with Chris Matthews, who is a closet republican.
    http://www.atimes.com/article/trump-will-deal-presidents-bankers/

    • Liza123
      November 26, 2016 at 9:47 am

      I agree about ‘Maddow’. That is precisely why all of us must be armed with info. and confidence to bring down the likes of such people.

      • Liza123
        November 26, 2016 at 9:49 am

        I agree about ‘Maddow’. That is precisely why all of us must be armed with the facts to bring down the likes of such people.

  2. J'hon Doe II
    November 23, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    I abhor Maddow for her pedantic style of reporting and refuse to watch.
    http://www.atimes.com/atlas-stumbled/
    ::
    Same with Chris Matthews, who is a closet republican.
    http://www.atimes.com/article/trump-will-deal-presidents-bankers/

  3. J'hon Doe II
    November 23, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    Happy thanksgiving to the Native People
    who are suffering brutalization
    for defense of human/water rights
    in the good-ole United States,

    as media attention
    breaks for a word
    from the sponsors
    of corporate news,

    america is being
    made great again
    at the expense of
    equal pursuit of happiness.

    • SFOMARCO
      November 24, 2016 at 3:55 am

      Thanksgiving Day begins in 5 minutes. La Bomba and HillBillious never mention Standing Rock. T-Rump, neither, despite claiming to be for the forgotten people steamrollered by the govt. {First ferryboat to Alcatraz leaves at 4:15 AM}

    • November 27, 2016 at 2:02 pm

      #9, Eldorado.

  4. rosemerry
    November 23, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    The conceit of the “Democratic Party” knows no bounds. Perhaps by now they realize that they can do an excellent job of losing (with the help of Republican dirty tricks, as usual) without involving Russia, which has more important issues on its agenda than bothering with a calamitous “electoral system” which throws up two “top candidates” like the Donald and Killary.

  5. evelync
    November 23, 2016 at 4:21 pm

    I used to be an avid watcher of MSNBC, I am sorry to say.
    Rachel was my favorite.
    When Bernie entered the Democratic presidential primary and I strongly agreed with his message, I began to notice that Rachel was a hack shilling for Clinton. hmmmm…..
    I had already grown disgusted with the stupid, thoughtless patter from Chris Matthews, also a shill for Clinton.
    I never watch Chris Mathews, Rachel Maddow, Joy Reid.
    I think that Chris Hayes has managed to avoid being dragged into the propaganda field of those 3. And to some extent Lawrence O’Donnell has tried to escape the gravitational pull of the MSNBC war machine.
    I’ve gone from liking Rachel Maddow to agreeing completely with the assessment in this article.
    To give my husband credit, from the beginning, he considered Rachel indifferent to the truth and would leave the room when she was on TV.

    • Brad Benson
      November 23, 2016 at 4:25 pm

      MSNBC lost a lot of regular viewer that will not be coming back for the likes of Maddow and Brian Williams. CNN never was any good. That leaves only Faux News and they’ve actually got a few good commentators during the day.

    • November 27, 2016 at 2:05 pm

      Just like the grateful dead they were great at the beginning and in the end were simply sitting in press conferences repeating things and then actually contradicting themselves in the same interview.

  6. Brad Benson
    November 23, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    As a regular MSNBC viewer and long-time Rachel fan, going all the way back to her days with Air America, I was watching that night. I turned it off in the middle and haven’t watched her since. That was actually the last straw, since it had been going on for months.

    Fox News had better election coverage than any of the others. Isn’t that a shame!

    • NYPaul
      November 25, 2016 at 11:40 pm

      I couldn’t agree more, Brad. What is particularly annoying is her, “I’m so smart you idiots can’t even begin to fathom my brilliance,” ear to ear Cheshire smile, regardless of the subject under discussion. It’s like she’s laughing at the lunacy of her having to lower herself talking to the illiterate rubes in her audience.

    • George Collins
      November 28, 2016 at 5:28 pm

      It is scandalous but true that in many ways “Fox” was the pick of the coverage litter during the election campaign.

      For news as entertainment, Morning Joe occupies unique power.

  7. ranney moss
    November 23, 2016 at 4:33 pm

    I’m happy to see Carden take on Maddow. I used to like her, but a few months back her show must have had a news blip or something, because she actually stopped pimping for Hillary for a brief segment and talked briefly about foreign affairs – specifically about Ukraine. I was horrified to hear that every word out of her mouth was either a full lie or a half truth. I sat stunned looking at the TV and not believing that she could lie like that. But as days and weeks went by, no one ever disputed her version , not on MSNBC or on any other news show I watched – including PBS.
    The whole fake news thing really depresses me. As far as I can tell, there is no TV source of news that is accurate when it comes to foreign affairs.(Democracy Now is not available where I live) How are Americans supposed to become intelligent citizens if they are fed lies daily? How is Democracy strengthened by this? The obvious answer is that it saps the life blood out of freedom and democracy, and we really won’t get better until it stops. Our Democracy is like a patient being fed small daily doses of Arsenic until it slowly dies.

    • Chloe
      November 23, 2016 at 10:44 pm

      “Democracy Now” is available online, thankfully, because it’s the only news show that I can stomach anymore, because they tell the truth.

      • JP
        November 26, 2016 at 11:06 am
        • fuzzylogix
          November 27, 2016 at 9:55 am

          The progressive news sites used to be decent but are now the same as the MSM. The libertarian sites tend to be the most objective.

        • November 27, 2016 at 2:10 pm

          its difficult when people don’t understand that we fund and fight ISIS simultaneously, but we always do that STUFF its good for the economy of Raytheon etc, which is near the cat hotel I use when I go away..

      • Yeah, Right
        November 27, 2016 at 12:49 pm

        Democracy Now is a partisan outlet. They support the Yankee empire, nothing resembling democracy.

        Like most of National Pentagon Radio. End games of empires are always fraught with bitterness and anger by the failed world rulers.

    • Stephen Sivonda
      November 23, 2016 at 11:21 pm

      Ranney Moss…. you can get the Democracy Now program on your computer if you wish . It’s also on Linktv.org….which is where I watch it. It happens to come on at 6:00PM EST here where I live and it’s on Directv which is satellite , as we don’t have cable TV in town yet Small city in the highlands of VA. I’ve stopped watching the PBS newshour which also starts at the same time as DN. I got tired of the BS lies we get on the PBS newshour…..at least in respect to the geopolitical reporting .

    • Idiotland
      November 24, 2016 at 2:09 pm

      As George Carlin said several years back, the ruling establishment isn’t interested in an intelligent citizenry, much less “democracy.”. That’s just not in their interest.

    • Gregory Woods
      November 26, 2016 at 7:51 am

      Try antiwar.com

  8. W. R. Knight
    November 23, 2016 at 4:45 pm

    There was a time when the U.S. media was the gold standard in news reporting, but that’s long since gone. Allowing the media to become corporate owned behemoths with no accountability to anyone but stockholders and CEO’s destroyed any hope of finding objective news in MSM.

  9. PlutoC
    November 23, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Maddow is damaged beyond repair. I was an avid viewer – not at all anymore. She rolled on orders. Awful.

  10. Realist
    November 23, 2016 at 5:40 pm

    It gets even crazier. I went to the Democratic Underground site to see what their reaction to Hillary’s stark rejection by the national electorate might be. Whether DU was actually hacked or whether that claim was a false flag to avoid the issues in the wake of the electoral debacle, I do not know. However, when they finally got fully back on line yesterday wouldn’t you know it, a major thrust of their activities now is to claim that the Midwestern swing states that went to Trump and gave him the majority in the electoral college was due to foreign hacking–who else but Russia, eh? And, now they are organizing to challenge the results as a fraud, wherever the proper venue is to do that. Congress? Supreme Court? The Pentagon? Wall Street? The Mainstream Media? I have no idea how they plan to organize their coup, but it goes on. The incessant demonization of Trump and everything he does goes on in the mainstream media. Clearly they want to sabotage his administration if they can’t throw a hail mary pass to block it from ever happening. Go to their sites. They consider Trump to be Hitler, in league with his twin brother Hitler in Russia, otherwise named Vladimir Putin. And, they are gearing up for World War III against Hitler. The Congress and Lame Duck-in-chief Obomber are aiding them by trying to put all sorts of impediments in front of President-elect Trump in his efforts to de-escalate the ongoing Neocon-instigated war against Russia and its allies wherever they may be found. The latest congressional resolution to implement a no-fly zone in Syria is one example. The wedge that Netanyahoo is attempting to drive between Russia and Iran using oil, trade and sanctions is another.

    • Stephen Sivonda
      November 23, 2016 at 11:53 pm

      Realist….spot on with your assessment . I’ve noticed that there has been a small but steady stream of comments by some of the Clinton supporters such as the Daily Kos and AlterNet to name a couple. The latest is an assertion of millions of the popular vote should have an Electoral college consideration…. Now I don’t even look at the content of those , because they are, as you say, a lame attempt to game the system. I voted for the Green party, and really was a Bernie follower, but you know how that went. The DNC screwed the whole party … and I would be surprised if it can make a comeback , unless they have a truly Progressive candidate that is fully supported by the DNC. Yeah…they’re scheming in the back room for a war. Rat bastards !

      • November 27, 2016 at 2:23 pm

        several red states would have to signoff on elimiinating their power-not a chance. Those kind of Democrats are why we can’t bein their party. They are lost souls who are depressed the Syria war may end. They don’t have a clue what they are talking about and it is hilarious. Its called the Constitution.

    • November 27, 2016 at 2:20 pm

      I and all my friend are/were Democrats. Watch me try to get them to read any article of any kind at all. An uninformed left is easy to turn into a cartoon. Even my parents who taught me so much think CNN is news, although they were in no way influenced to go for Hillary, they knew better than to really care what CNN is saying, but they read things. They voted Green but didn’t want to, as did I, but Jill Stein lives in my hometown and we know for sure she is a fruitcake. She claims to b a doctor but has never worked at a single clinic in Massachusetts that serves Medicaid patients. What’s up with that? She works at a college where no real Doctor would be in Boston. She has an MD but does nothing useful with it, nor plans to. We don’t know why but seems pretty damn weird to us given where we work.

  11. F. G. Sanford
    November 23, 2016 at 6:29 pm

    Incest. It’s all about incest. I would like to see some independent news source do an expose on the mainstream media’s family tree. It’s a trunk with no branches. Just a log. A great piece would start out with a trivia questionnaire like you find in some of the supermarket check-out rags. You could grade yourself. The headline would read, “Test your Mainstream Media IQ”. There would be questions like, “Which media star is married to a Rubin?” Which media star is married to a Greenspan?” “Which media star used to work for the CIA?” Which media star used to be an AIPAC lobbyist?” “Which media star is married to a foreign diplomat?” “Which media star’s real name is Schwartz?” Of coarse, it would be a multiple choice test. The correct answer for a lot of the questions would be, “All of the above.” There should be a few tough questions, like, “What ever happened to Satinder Bindra?” Some true-false questions would insure that everybody gets a few answers correct. Like…”True or false: Hala Gorani is worse than fingernails on a blackboard.” Or…”True or false: Harlan Hill is actually an animated cartoon.” Then, the article could follow up with an explanation of the correct answers along with the pertinent financial, political, family, ethnic-religious and gender identity issues that connect these people. Jeez, I never thought I’d find myself believing that Sean Hannity was “fair and balanced”. But compared to Rachel Maddow…he is!

    • Stephen Sivonda
      November 23, 2016 at 11:57 pm

      I really like your idea…you should see about getting it on a reliable widely followed blog…or something similar. Go for it !

  12. Bill Bodden
    November 23, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Perhaps the producers at MS-DNC are mesmerized by the styles of Rachel “Gatlin Rant” Maddow and Chris “Motormouth” Matthews and the rapidity of their rants that gets ahead of their brains. I’m at odds with a couple of commentators above. Only on one occasion about a couple of months ago did I catch her making some sense and explaining her point at a reasonable and intelligible rate of speaking. Usually, as soon as she appears on the tube I grab for the remote to switch channels.

    As for Motormouth, what’s with this clown? His schtick is to ask a guest a question, but before this puppet gets a few words out of his mouth Motormouth resumes his rant. Perhaps, questioning his guests is just a gimmick for Moynihan’s protege to catch his breath for another harangue.

    As for their “news” it is nothing other than establishment propaganda.

    Then there is Brian Williams whose credibility was shot earlier this year. Now MS-DNC is foisting him off in a rehabilitation program with the hope there will be enough credulous people willing to trust him again or are just happy with the style in which he renders his BS.

  13. Drew Hunkins
    November 23, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Maddow’s constant Putin Bashing is so distasteful it’s sickening.

  14. Shawn'o
    November 23, 2016 at 7:25 pm

    As I surfed through a few different mainstream media programs on election night, each time I came back to MSNBC, their panel: Rachel, Mathews and the rest; seemed as if they were elated that Trump was slowly but surely moving along, winning state after state. At that point I realized, they don’t care if Hillary wins or loses, because they’re all in it for the spectacle of the show itself.
    I finally had to admit to myself that America’s media is nothing but a right-wing propaganda machine and we’re all being played as ignorant souls.

    • backwardsevolution
      November 23, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Shawn’o – “America’s media is nothing but a right-wing propaganda machine”? What? Night after night they were shredding Trump, eviscerating him, tearing him limb from limb. Amazing how we all see things differently.

      There’s a writer I love to read, agree with almost everything he says re economic matters. So when I saw his latest article, I anxiously dove right in, only to find that he felt sorry for Hillary, felt she was being treated unfairly. I could not believe what I was reading. I sat back and thought: how could someone so bright be so naive. The media barely touched Hillary. In fact, CNN devoted all of their time to Trump’s “violent” rallies, even though we found out that many of the protesters had been paid, through Hillary’s campaign, to stir up trouble and incite violence. Big money and the MSM gave 1,000% to trying to get her elected. They must have been in shock when it didn’t happen.

      Had they gone after Hillary like they did with Trump, she would have lost by a lot more.

      • Realist
        November 23, 2016 at 10:58 pm

        Perhaps Shawn’o had noticed that Hillary was in no way, shape or form the “progressive” that she branded herself. Neither was her husband when he was president. Both are warmongering Wall Streeters. Both are really right-wingers masquerading as liberal Democrats. Both have the voters fooled, Hillary doubly so because she’s got women also believing that she’s a feminist when in fact that identity is just another identity prop as far as she’s concerned. Yes, she’s a domineering woman, but she doesn’t give two bowel movements about the welfare of women not named Hillary Rodham Clinton. Since the media were clearly promoting Hillary at the same time they were impeding the basically independent Trump–the real “maverick” of 2016–Shawn’o probably concluded the media was doing the work of the “right wing.” The labels used to encapsulate movements and politicians become more nebulous as time goes by. What is so conservative about using war in preference to diplomacy as the “Neocons” inevitably do? What is so liberal about the uber capitalism practiced by the “Neoliberals?”

      • Sam F
        November 24, 2016 at 8:46 am

        Although a minor point, I understand the description of Hillary by Realist as right wing, on the basis of warmongering, support from the right wing, and primary support from zionists and gays seeking special powers for war crimes and social propaganda in the guise of seeking equal rights that they already enjoy. Never forget their propaganda accusations of “misogyny,” “anti-semitism,” and “homophobia” to threaten people with hard-to-answer accusations about unknown concepts, which they finally realized were completely bogus.

  15. November 23, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    When Bush was president I liked the way Rachel went after his policies, especially war policies.
    When Obama became president she said something like our wars are good now because Obama does them right. That ended my admiration and my watching her.
    acomfort

    • Realist
      November 23, 2016 at 11:10 pm

      Precisely, acomfort. In short, she outed herself as a class A hypocrite. She’s far more partisan that she is ideological. In fact, she will ditch her acclaimed “principles” to further the interests of her party. That’s the story of the Obama administration in a nutshell. If Bush did it, it was bad. If Obama did the exact same thing, it was good. That is exactly why Clinton lost the election: liberal Democrats who had voted twice for Obama but became disgusted with the hypocrisy of his administration either stayed home or voted for a third paty candidate on election day. Trumps numbers matched those of Bush, McCain and Romney. Hillary way underperformed Obama, especially amongst blacks, Latinos and (get this!) women. There are plenty of voters who actually consider integrity to be more important than campaign promises which they see broken all the time.

      • Gregory Herr
        November 24, 2016 at 2:34 am

        Yep, Maddow gets paid about 7 million annually to be a partisan and a gatekeeper. About three years ago she did a little rant about 9/11 whereby she propped the Commission Report and said “all you need to know” was contained therein. Whether or not one thinks the “official story” of 9/11 is more or less truthful, the “all you need to know” kind of blather should be a real turnoff for anyone interested in above board discussions of any topic. I haven’t bothered with her for quite a while, but it certainly isn’t surprising to read of her more recent silliness about Trump and Putin’s “flattery”. Of course this type of sophomoric drivel about Trump-Putin was pretty standard fare for the vaunted Western “journalistic” dittoheads.
        In the late 90’s all Chris Matthews seemed to be able to focus on was a none-too-veiled personal animus towards Bill Clinton. He may have been correct in his instincts on that front, but it was tiresome and immature. His constant interruptions mixed at times with sycophantic drool is also more than I can bear.
        Chris Hayes was excellent on his morning weekend show, but the bump to primetime did him no favor.

        • GeorgyOrwell
          November 27, 2016 at 3:24 am

          Exactly Gregory. When she did that hit piece on 9/11 Truth I was completely done with her. To be honest I was starting to see through her long before that. You even notice they never mention the 2,700 Architects and Engineers who are petitioning Congress for a new investigation into the collapse of the three buildings? They just cannot take them head on, so they ignore them.

  16. Bill Bodden
    November 23, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Early in his employment on MS-DNC Chris Hayes was something of an exception among the corporate shills on that channel, but the producers eventually got him in line. – “The Diminution of Chris Hayes” by Chris Welzenbach http://www.counterpunch.org/2016/09/23/the-diminution-of-chris-hayes/

    As much as I deplore Maddow and Matthews, Joy Reid is the one I truly despise. When there was a discussion of the abuse inflicted on then-Bradley Manning at the Quantico Marine Base brig she came up with something along the lines of “poor baby.” I’ll resist the temptation to type my true opinion of her that would be rejected by Consortium’s higher standards.

    Cenk Uygur had the guts to say what he believed, but that was too much for MS-DNC so he was replaced by Democratic Party shill Al Sharpton.

    Have any of the main corporate propaganda channels – CNN, MSNBC, Fox – said anything lately about the protests at the Dakota Access Pipeline or settlement expansion into the West Bank? If they haven’t it is probably because they believe they wouldn’t get away with the lies they would have to tell.

    • Realist
      November 23, 2016 at 11:22 pm

      Wow, you guys have really touched a nerve this evening. I think the reason we have come to loathe these specific personalities on MSNBC is because we feel betrayed by them. We used to buy their posturing, but now we know they were never sincere but merely playing a role, pretending to be representing the reasoned, dovish liberal POV on most of the issues. They all clearly shape-shifted to loyal warmongering servants of the American hegemon when they got their marching orders, or they lost their lucrative seven figure salaries. The guys that wouldn’t bend, like Ed Schultz and Cenk, got sacked and now find themselves “broadcasting” on You Tube or Russian Television (which is high quality but demonized by the American PTB). Larry King, Ed and Thom Hartmann have all maintained the same high objectivity and integrity broadcasting on RT, in spite of being cast as Putin puppets by the real propagandists.

    • John Wood
      November 24, 2016 at 11:19 pm

      You mean the pipeline that doesn’t cross Indian land.

  17. J'hon Doe II
    November 23, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    Realist — “It gets even crazier. I went to the Democratic Underground site to see what their reaction to Hillary’s stark rejection by the national electorate might be.”

    There was no StarkRejection-‘realist’ — put your feet back into your Batman pajamas and recognize the realism.
    Realist — “It gets even crazier. I went to the Democratic Underground site to see what their reaction to Hillary’s stark rejection by the national electorate might be.”
    :

    There was no StarkRejection-‘realist’ — put your feet back into your Batman pajamas and recognize the realism.

    ::
    http://www.gregpalast.com/election-stolen-heres/

    • Realist
      November 23, 2016 at 11:34 pm

      You either have a stutter or like to repeat yourself. But the important thing is that claim has been characterised as total horse manure by those who have investigated it. Absolutely no suggestion of cheating was detected in a complete canvass of two paper ballots states that normally go Democratic but this time either went Republican (Iowa) or barely hung on for Hillary (Minnesota). Those charges have basically constituted Palast’s entire career since he leveled them in the 2000 election. Don’t expect him to get off his one trick pony. I get it. You DU’ers are still in the denial phase of mourning, and you have great plans to raise plenty of hell trying to get the Queen of Chaos ensconced in office regardless of the election. I also get that you feel that she should reign based on California alone, in spite of the fact that the rest of the nation gave the popular vote to Trump. So, we’ll look forward to your playing the role of Mitch McConnell and the Tea Baggers over the next four years.

    • Realist
      November 24, 2016 at 1:27 am

      Here’s the analysis from 538.com (Nate Silver’s site populated by statistics boffins) who claim in an article titled “Demographics, Not Hacking, Explain the Election Results.” There is no more exacting authority than these people, so I believe them over Greg Palast’s latest accusations. But, hey, go raise hell if you must, it will only sabotage your credibility and tar the Democrats as sore losers. Some make the point that even Hillary herself is not pushing for this, just her indoctrinated supplicants.

      http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/demographics-not-hacking-explain-the-election-results/

      • J'hon Doe II
        November 24, 2016 at 2:23 am

        What you say.

        We’re being taken over by a bunch of fascists.

        Recognize it. Admit it. Come to terms with it.

        • Gregory Herr
          November 24, 2016 at 3:04 am

          Fascism is the merger of state and corporate interests marked also by ultra-nationalistic or jingoistic characteristics. It seems to me that corporate influence over the state apparatus has been well underway and progressing for quite some time. A distinctly jingoistic flavor has permeated our political discourse (if you can call it that) both within the duopoly (essentially one-party system) and throughout the “controlled media” also for some time. The constant warmongering is another telltale sign. We might also note increasing surveillance combined with assaults on the Bill of Rights as processes that are not new because of Trump’s election.
          You may be right that Trump will hasten some sort of ushering in of a more full-blown fascism, but I would contend that the imperious Clinton is/was just as untrustworthy.

        • Idiotland
          November 24, 2016 at 2:34 pm

          That’s all you have?

          • Gregory Herr
            November 24, 2016 at 3:33 pm

            Don’t know what you want Idiotland. An element of police militarization could be added to a listing of fascistic-like aspects of our society. My point is simply that such aspects haven’t suddenly arrived on the scene with the election of Trump and that Democrats are also implicated in such trends. I don’t think Trump and his cohorts are rubbing their hands together thinking of how a fuller, more repressive version of fascism can be implemented, but the framework for such implementation does exist. I would think, minus some major “catalyzing” event, that fascism’s ugly head will remain fairly contained.
            Is “is that all you have?” all you have? What are your thoughts?

          • Gregory Herr
            November 24, 2016 at 4:05 pm

            Sorry, my tired eyes mistook your post as a response to mine. But I’m still interested in your thoughts.

      • Joe B
        November 24, 2016 at 9:12 am

        There is truth in both of your points. But I hope that our long way back to democracy will be the shortest path, with Trump averting foreign wars but not delivering on the home front, thereby unifying progressives for the swing back in 2020 or 2024. That will require Dems to switch to protests of actual Trump improprieties, rather than the close election or mere demonization.

        The trick will be to unify progressives without the MIC/WallSt/zionist bribes and staff of the Dems, around a true progressive who rejects war and demands domestic reinvestment and employment, without scapegoating any minority. With mass media and elections controlled by money, we can’t get there without executive overreach to get the media into the hands of the universities (temporarily) and prosecute all those in Congress who take MIC/WallSt/zionist bribes, and dismiss the Supreme Court judges who voted for the Citizens United decision.

        Executive overreach to restore democracy is not fascism, it is action for the people under emergency powers.

  18. CitizenOne
    November 23, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    There is a book by Noreena Hertz titled The Silent Takeover: Global Capitalism and the Death of Democracy

    The first chapter is titled “The Revolution will not be televised”

    She describes her experience in Geneva at the G8 meeting where hundreds of thousands of people showed up to peacefully protest. The media only took the “Money Shot” of a skinhead running wild in the streets and framed the protest as “Anarchist Thugs Rampage”. see photo on right.

    It is indeed true that the Revolution will not be televised. The Media deregulation in the same year was opposed by over two million letters to the FCC by every segment of the population yet it passed. Protests were held but not televised. The Angels of the Public Interest protested in Washington, FCC Chairman Michael Copps created a Democracy Tour of 13 cities none of which was covered by a single media outlet. Reporters were either told not to show up or were discouraged in some form. Many sponsors were somewhat surprised at the lack of coverage but FCC Commissioner Michael Copps was not surprised at all. He knew the deal. He also fought for Net Neutrality.

    Then, on the day the FCC passed the media deregulation a single word was said by the major media. ABC News announced that the FCC had created new rules which were likely to result in media company mergers. That was it. In other words, ABC was letting the CEOs of major media outlets that the future looked like a gold mine.
    Then, the Senate voted 55 to 40 and the House of Representatives voted 400 to 21 to overturn the Michael Powell sponsored deregulation rules voted on by a 3 to 2 ruling by the FCC. That put a damper on the billionaires who run the “news” for sure.

    Recently, there was a ruling by the FCC to regulate the ISPs as Public Utilities in an attempt to quash their hunger for ending Net Neutrality which would send the Internet into the sewer of self censorship which the broadcaster networks are now in up to their necks with commercial filters which limit the news. It was pushed by none other than the TPP supporting Barak Obama. Why did he do it?

    In fact why did the Senate vote and the House vote to overturn media deregulation?

    It is because they are on the front lines of the censorship that is going on. The “Dean Scream” which was broadcast over and over ad nausea and which effectively killed Howard Dean as a candidate was a media response to his statement in a campaign speech that he would move to regulate the media two weeks prior to the “open mike” incident which through a barrage of propaganda effectively eliminated his chances.

    We live in a media system which effectively controls the message and can choose to tell or not to tell anything and which can bring on the rain on any political figure it wants to destroy. That is what politicians have to deal with and that is why they voted with a capital NO! to rules passed by the FCC which would increase the power of the media.

    Mark Twain said, ” It is unwise to wage a war of words with men who buy ink by the barrel”. Such is the power of the media. When Benjamin Franklin stated that the pen was mightier than the sword I think he was “misunderestimating” the reality of the situation.

    This is not some theoretical proposition that the media owns the truth. It is demonstrated fact. It has a very long tradition of having elitist opinions framing the debate.

    From endorsing candidates to outright propaganda, the media has functioned as a self serving and servile tool of the wealthy for a very long time.

    On the other hand, there is the elitist fear that turning the microphone over to the mob will result in chaos. In fact there is every possibility that they would hand over the microphone to whoever would incite chaos to prove their point.

    These folks have a grip on power only dreamed of by Nazi Germany. Germany had radios and newspapers. Now the media has it’s sights on the World Wide Web, Social Media, Major Media, Games, Artificial Intelligence, etc They want to put cameras and microphones in your phone, television, refrigerator, socks etc. RFID chips will be used to scan your profile as you are tracked by GPS and you are monitored by NSA and Microsoft’s evil spying Cortana. Just read Microsoft’s “privacy policy”. It basically states be good and do not have an opinion, you have no expectation of privacy and we are watching you and listening to every word”. How’s that for Big Brother. AT&T have also not been a major news story for their operation in cooperation with NSA called “Project Hemisphere” which divulged the entire content stored on email servers if a single key word of interest was found.

    Is anyone upset about that? The fact that if NSA said we are interested in downloading every single email from everyone that ever used the word “the” in a communication we want every single document that ever crossed your fiber optic network and AT&t just said OK but it will cost you. It is a massive spying campaign on all Americans and we do not even get to be alarmed by that on Walt Disney News.

    Of course it does not have to be a vehicle of destruction. All it would have to do is present the truth. But that is not what is happening.

    We have entered a hall of mirrors. One cannot trust what we see or read. Some describe it as a “post fact” era but more appropriately it should be called the Age of Propaganda. Propaganda had its roots in Public Relations which can be traced to Edward Bernays. The constant theme ever since has been to create a system of ostensible diversity which conceals an actual uniformity.in the news. That is why you see the confused mess on the television.

    So yes, I think probably our media has devolved into the most dishonest media in the World. Follow the money. It will always lead you to the prime suspect.

    It is good to see that this website is alarmed about the FUBAR media in America. It has had the government by the throat and has been the handmaiden to the CIA and NSA all in the name of security but what a great way to rule the World!! at the same time.

    I am not sure how we can extricate ourselves out of this situation. it is FUBAR and SNAFU too.

    Soon Amazon Drones will legally be able to unlock your front door for security purpose in order to safely and securely robotically deliver your goodies to your home. Rather inside your home.

    Oh the thrill of having to do nothing but use your reality enhanced holographic eyeglasses to dream up the perfect holiday meal only to have your door magically opened up bay an armada of holiday drone servants setting up the the dinner table according to your holographically envisioned wishes and watch in amazement as they carefully place freshly cooked foods on it leaving you with the bill.

    Won’t that be wonderful?

    It will surely come as no surprise when the same drones come to arrest you because you misspelled a word.

    Mr. Buttle or is it Mr. Tuttle?

    • Joe B
      November 24, 2016 at 9:35 am

      The “elitist fear that turning the microphone over to the mob will result in chaos… to prove their point” is of course anti-democracy; the notion of “mob rule” is strictly Repub propaganda. They give examples of instability during revolutions, having no historical basis that gangsterism is associated with modern democracies other than via oligarchs like themselves.

      The founders discuss in the Federalist Papers the means to avoid “cabals of the few” and the demagogic tyrants against whom Aristotle warned in his Politics. Those mechanisms must be improved to avoid the gangsterism of oligarchy, both in elections and mass media.

      • Gregory Herr
        November 26, 2016 at 12:26 am

        Two very interesting phrases:

        gangsterism of oligarchy, cabals of the law

    • John
      November 24, 2016 at 5:16 pm

      It was not a typographic error in the case if Mr Buttle and Mr Tuttle, but a fly that fell into a printer. Incidentally, the term “bug” and “debugging” have their roots in computer history, when computers took up buildings, and actual insects in the circuitry were a main cause of errors.

      For those who do not get the Buttle/Tuttle reference, watch Terry Gilliam’s film Brazil. One of the greatest and most prophetic films ever made.

  19. JWalters
    November 23, 2016 at 10:51 pm

    It’s illuminating to contemplate how the extreme concern over possible Russian influence in the election is unmatched by any concern whatsoever over the well-known, HUGE influence of Israel over American elections across the board. Here’s an excellent article on that from a Jewish-run, anti-Zionist, justice-oriented website.
    http://mondoweiss.net/2016/08/about-russian-influence/

    I too have become very disappointed in the obvious obeisance of the MSBNC pundits. Their Comcast oligarchy masters have finally cracked down.

    • Bill Bodden
      November 23, 2016 at 11:39 pm

      It’s illuminating to contemplate how the extreme concern over possible Russian influence in the election is unmatched by any concern whatsoever over the well-known, HUGE influence of Israel over American elections across the board.

      The media have always been accomplices in fear mongering on behalf of the reigning establishment. Unfortunately, the majority of the American people are also complicit because of their susceptibility to scary propaganda. During the McCarthy era of fear communists were the bogeymen threatening the very foundations of the nation. Britain had one communist in its parliament, France and Italy had several. Those nations all survived without the violations of civil liberties experienced in the US.

  20. Andrew Craig
    November 24, 2016 at 1:02 am

    I’m honestly baffled at the idea of anyone ever being a fan of MSNBC or Rachel Maddow. MSNBC is like the liberal version of a conservative going “full-retard.”

  21. Kaizen
    November 24, 2016 at 1:40 am

    I had stoped viewing Rachel since 2012. I used to listen to her, Thom Hartman, RandI and the rest of them on air America when they were humble.

    • Realist
      November 24, 2016 at 8:00 am

      Hartman is still rational and can calmly converse with someone with opposing views. Maddow has become a condescending strident partisan hack and Rhodes has gone totally off the rails. The last two, who might as well be Neocons, have earned their way off my listening/viewing list.

    • ctrl-z
      November 24, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      When Bush was in office Randi, Thom, and Rachel were great as the opposition to what was clearly a monstrous evil. When Obama took office they became fawning sycophants, attacking only Republicans and ignoring the horrors Obama was promulgating..

      Now that the Republicans control the White House and Congress they’ll gear up the outrage again.

      Because increased deportations, oil leases, arrests/imprisonment/torture of whistle blowers, government surveillance, economic inequality, and drone killings are only bad when Republicans do them.

      • GeorgyOrwell
        November 27, 2016 at 3:28 am

        I do not find Thom Hartmann to be the same Democratic Party lapdog as Rachael Maddow. I used to love Randi Rhodes but she kind of dropped out of sight? Hartmann in my view till has his integrity.

  22. ctrl-z
    November 24, 2016 at 4:12 am

    Even ‘Democracy Now’, the epitome of independent broadcast journalism, has been spouting ‘White Helmets’ propaganda about Syria, where only children, hospitals, and innocent civilians in Aleppo are being bombed by Putin and Assad, apparently for the fun of it. No mention of ISIL affiliated terrorists using the population as human shields – or of the civilians casualties of ISIL attacks.

    I’m really wondering what the hell is going on when even Amy Goodman is putting out the neocon’s version of events..

    • dahoit
      November 24, 2016 at 11:17 am

      Israel.

    • Garric
      November 24, 2016 at 5:21 pm

      As far as I know, all the medium-sized US media have been bought by large financial corporations. Thus, in the United States almost all of the media are controlled by the financial establishment. That is why the American journalists did not go either to Donbass or to Syria. True is not necessary for them. Money and loyalty – the reality of the American press. Is not it?
      When I read the Westen press, I marvel. Sometimes it’s like the movie “The Matrix!”
      There is only one part in politics. The second side even journalists do not go. This is strange.
      In the Donbas 5 Russian journalist was killed by firing Ukrainian military. We have seen two sides of the conflict. And you?
      I know Graham Phillips was there. I saw his comments. Many commentaries. And you?

    • John M. Morgan
      November 27, 2016 at 5:17 pm

      Democracy Now’s foreign policy coverage started to get shaky during the buildup to the war on Lybia when they helped pave the way for war, similar now on Syria. On Ukraine and relations with Russia DN has been largely MIA. They should reform or give up their “War and Peace Report” slogan.

      Huge disappointment to me as put a lot of effort into lobbying to get DN on my local NPR stations in the last decade. I assume the problem probably relates to their foundation funding sources and a partisan Democratic inclination.

  23. Karen
    November 24, 2016 at 9:04 am

    And the attack against a free media and critical thinking citizens by neocon/ Putin leaning propaganda begins…

  24. Marc
    November 26, 2016 at 7:50 am

    I have given up completely on broadcast news. The final straw was the Clinton News Network’s naked biased reporting during the election. Before that, I had become tired of the 3 minute segments where 2 or 3 “guests” would try to heave as many talking points as possible at the audience as filler between the advertisements for various drugs for diseases I didn’t know I had.
    CNN rolls on a “General” or their favourite media pet “Spider Marks” to give a military analysis worthy of an eight year old child. There is no substance at all in their interviews of experts.
    In contrast, RT often interviews a single individual for 20 minutes or more. In this format, you can actually listen and understand what the person is saying. I guess that makes me a Putin stooge.

  25. Sr. Gibbonk
    November 26, 2016 at 9:38 pm

    I would urge you all to just cut the crap, by which I mean the insidious television cable. Several years ago I literally cut our’s with a pair of pruning shears and was immediately awash in an ethereal, transcendent light. Tuns out it was just the snowy television screen. Nonetheless, I felt a tremendous sense of relief at having freed myself from the puerile spectacle that passes for news on cable television. As for Maddow, I grew tired of her droning warfare years ago.
    The late Sheldon S. Wolin’s book Democracy Inc: Managed Democracy and the Specter of Inverted Totalitarianism is a brilliant analysis of the modern American Corporate State and its essential tool Mainstream Media. I just can’t wait for Maddow’s review of it.

  26. November 26, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    To my knowledge, no news and info site, other than Newsbud, actually examines all of the main Russian newspapers regularly. See Phlip Kovacevic’s “Russian newspapers monitor”: http://bit.ly/2fRhBaf

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